Did you know that the American Association of Pediatrics recommends a limit of 2 hours of screen time each day? Even less if your children are younger. This may seem impossible to some of us, and to others it may not be an issue at all. But no matter who you are, screens are everywhere.
This is not going to be a ‘LIMIT YOUR KIDS SCREEN TIME’ post. Screens of all kinds can be incredible and very useful. Without screens, you couldn’t check out my rambling on this website. You’re welcome.
So what will this tangent be about, then?
A few years ago when I was working on my undergrad, I developed a community workshop entitled ‘Media and My Family: How it Helps, How it Hurts, and What You Can Do About It.’ At the time, I felt that I had a pretty good understanding of how to limit and properly use media in my family. I taught others tips and tricks and statistics and all that garbage. I personally had set limits to screen time in my home and enforced them.
Then life got much more challenging than I had expected.
As most of my consistent readers know, I was diagnosed with an anxiety disorder, panic disorder, depression, and arachnophobia specific to scorpions. (Read more HERE) For months at a time, all of my energy was spent on not crying all the time, trying to keep my children alive, and attempting to do anything I could to seem ‘normal’. It should also be noted that I hardly had any energy anyway. Days would come when even a simple question from my toddler could cause me to have a meltdown. A lot of those days, I ended up turning on those screens.
Two hours of screen time? Yeah. We got that in alright. Plus much more.
The guilt had taken over me for a good long time. I felt that I had been hypocritical in my workshops by teaching others to follow these guidelines when I myself could not. I also felt that my children deserved to have ME, and not a television. But wasn’t it better that they were entertained and not having to be stuck with an emotionally unstable mother? I definitely think so.
Here is my re-evaluated perspective on screen time: Two hours is a great guideline for screen time limits. If you can, be engaged in what engages them. My daughter loves to laugh and point out things to me during her shows and it gives us a great chance to relax and bond. If I have a game they can play on a tablet, it is extremely fun to play it together. Other days, we do not use screens at all. We might be playing, go out for an adventure, or just be busy with day to day life. There are also days when letting them watch a couple silly movies is a way better option than a depressed mom who would just cry all day and not play anyway. Whatever limits or restrictions you place, know that it is your decision. Hey… that applies to way more than just screen time, too!
If you want to make a change, make a change. If you have questions or want recommendations, I am here with tons of information up my sleeve and am happy to share. Like, super happy to share. That is why I became a Family Life Educator. Otherwise, you’ve got this.